That evening Odessa completed the rest of her homework, including typing up her ‘Punctuality’ essay for Mr. Campbell. She also made sure that she actually put the photos she’d taken in her bag, this time. Before doing so, however, she realised that she hadn’t selected which of three photos she would submit for the assignment. She took another look at all them, but when she looked at photo #3, the one with The Boy “looking” at the camera; she couldn’t help but to stare at it. As disturbing as the photo was, it was still very alluring. Nevertheless, she decided to submit the first two she’d snapped of The Boy, instead of picking just one. She felt that the two complimented each other well, and fit beautifully into the theme of her assignment.

Kiko had called twice already, but Odessa kept telling her to call after dinner. “Noooooo!! I want to know what happened now! I’ve been itching all day to know what the heck is going on between you and ‘Tim Bikerboy’!” Kiko complained.

“And, I told you you’ll know soon enough,” Odessa assured.

“Alright, but if you try to play me when I call after dinner, you know it’s on!” Kiko threatened.

Odessa laughed and taunted. “Don’t worry, Kiko. I’ll tell you soon enough but it’ll cost you.”

“What?! Uh-uh, don’t even try to– “ Kiko started, but was cut-off when Odessa hung up on her.

Sure enough, Kiko called later on yelling at Odessa for hanging up, but was as content as a kid at the sweets shop when Odessa filled her in about her so-called “history” with The Boy, including the occurrence with Gisella.

“Hmph, leave it to Gisella to up and ruin something good,” grunted Kiko. “But at least he talked to you!! I’d been hearing talk about some new kid all day, and when he walked in our class I was like ‘DAAAAAYYUUMM!!!’ – well in my head, anyways. I mean he’s not my type and all, but I can see why so many girls were sweating him. But I gotta say O...” Kiko paused. “From what I noticed I definitely saw all sorts of electrons flying in the air, when he was staring you down... But I ain’t speaking for everyone else.”

Odessa thought for a second. “Nah, I still think it was because he recognised me as the big chump at the mechanic’s. Plus, there’s always Gisella, who is very pretty. I mean why else would he agree to go with her to the Diner Vega?”

“Ugh, duh Ode, you so naïve. It’s all about getting a free milkshake! And I’m not talking about the type that ‘brings all the boys’ to Gisella’s yard either.”

“Kiko, I’m telling you right now, sometimes I seriously worry about you…”

A few weeks had passed and Odessa had since figured out that the only time she practically saw The Boy was during AP Chemistry. He had a habit of leaving immediately after class, and she had no idea where his locker was located, either. The few times she had see him elsewhere he was always with some girl, mostly Gisella– assuming she hadn’t threatened every girl to stay away from him, yet. She had seen him one time, when he was talking to Alec and Derek at the Derek’s locker. She wanted to approach them, but for fear of looking, or saying something stupid, she’d changed her mind.

One day, on their way to 5th period from the lunchroom, Skyler was giving Odessa her opinion on what to do. “’Dessi, I say you should start being more aggressive and go talk to him,” she said, who’d since been caught up on Odessa and The Boy’s “locker meeting.”

“Well, what am I supposed to do? It’s not like I ever see him anyway, except for chemistry. And even then, he scrams after class for some reason. I don’t even know what lunch he has, come to think of it… If he really wanted to talk to me himself, you’d think he wait around for a bit,” Odessa proclaimed. “Besides, you’re acting like I like him or something.”

Skyler gave her cousin a wry look. “Fee, don’t make me drag Kiko outta class and have her call you out, worse than she did me about Alec. The way she explained things to me, I’m surprised the whole school doesn’t know about the ‘Look of Chemistry,’ Skyler joked.

Odessa stopped in her tracks. “Oh no! Do you really think the whole school’s saying I have crush on Tim?” she panicked.

“No offence, Cuz, but I don’t think anyone, especially the girls are worrying about you right now. People are either trying to figure the kid out, get into his pants, or are dealing with Gisella’s bullshit.”

Odessa moaned. “Oh, what’s the use anyway? I refuse to throw myself at some guy, no matter how hot, sexy, tall, mysterious…” she stopped when she heard Skyler snickering at her. “Whatever…” she continued, ignoring the laughter. “I just don’t want to compete with other girls. It’s just not worth it.”

“Well if you change your mind let me know because I’ll be more than happy to garner whatever info I can from Alec about Tim.”

“Thanks, Sky, but I don’t waste your time. Anyway, I’ll see ya lataz.”

“Do you wanna come over after school today?” Skyler asked.

Odessa wrestled with the idea but passed. “Nah, I think I’m gonna go to my secret hiding place… see if I can snap anything good.”

“I wish you’d tell me where this place was. I should follow you one day.”

“Now you know if I told you or anyone else, it wouldn’t be a secret anymore, would it?”

Skyler rolled her eyes. “You are such a nerd sometimes, I swear. Alright then, cya later, babes.

Odessa was true to her word on going to the pond by the hospital after school, which was only a short drive over. Skyler called her to let her know that Tyler, a freshman at nearby Penn State, would be in town in 2 weeks on Friday, which happened to be the same day Llanview High and Pine Valley High were playing against each other, in a big football matchup. He was interested in going, and wanted to know if Odessa wanted to come with them. She accepted, and Skyler informed Odessa that she and Tyler would stop by her place to collect her. Odessa was looking forward to hanging out with him. With her being an only child she definitely envied Skyler, as Tyler was like the big brother she wished she had, as well. Apparently, he was bringing home his friend Ace Chandler, also, whom Odessa met on a few occasions whenever he visited Tyler, when they’d been in high school. Ace, also attending Penn State, was cute and cocky, and had known Tyler through years of youth sports and camps. But considering who his parents were, he actually turned out a pretty decent kid.

It was a clear and pleasant afternoon, and when she got to the pond she decided against sitting at her usual place on one of the benches, opting rather to sit near a big tree. As she sat down she noticed a couple of youngsters kicking around a soccer ball, nearby. The young photographer snapped a few pictures of them with a small, digital camera of hers she always kept in her bag. She then turned her attention to some ducks swimming in the pond. One of the boys had miss-kicked the ball, which was headed towards Odessa’s head. “Look out!!” the youngster yelled to her.

By reaction, Odessa turned to look and saw the ball within inches of her face, before she could even brace herself. Then suddenly, a black boot stopped the ball’s motion, brought it down skillfully and kicked it back over to the kids. “I’m sorry about that!!” the same youngster had yelled.

Odessa looked up and saw The Boy, dressed in dark jeans, dark grey shirt and a leather coat looking down at her. “Well that was a close one. Otherwise, it would’ve been really convenient with the hospital nearby,” he quipped with that soft deep tone of his.

Odessa got up and graciously thanked him. “Omigosh, Tim!! Thank you so much for that! That wouldn’t have been much fun for me, huh?,” she chuckled, but still relieved from the near-hit.

“No problem, as long as you’re alright.” The Boy looked down at the camera in her hand and smiled. “Would’ve been a shame if your camera had gotten shattered too, aside from your nose.”

“Hehe, I think I would’ve been more concerned about the camera, if anything... And I was actually snapping those kids, too, as well as those ducks over there,” she gestured her head over to the pond.

“I know, I saw you…” The Boy responded.

Odessa looked back at him, who was her eyeing carefully. Odessa blushed and looked down to her feet. From the top of her eyes, she noticed The Boy had a sketchpad in one of his hands. “Are you an artist?” she asked.

“Nah, I just draw things off the top of my head, unless I see something interesting to sketch…” he answered.

Odessa missed the slight innuendo. “Oh yea? Can I take a look? That’s if it’s okay?” she asked. The Boy was hesitant and frowned. “You aren’t shy about your art, are you?”

The Boy smiled. “No, not shy... It’s just that I’ve never shown anyone any drawings I’ve done… some aren’t not done anyway.”

“Ahh, c’mon! Let me take a peak, pleeeeeaaaaasssee???,” Odessa pleaded.

The Boy chuckled, and debated for a moment. “Nope, sorry. But when they’re finished I promise I’ll show them to you,” he said seriously.

“Alright fine, and you say you aren’t an artist,” she teasingly fussed. The Boy sat down by the tree, and Odessa followed suit. He took off his jacket with his motorcycle gloves hanging out of a pocket, and set down his helmet he was carrying in his other hand, as well as his shoulder bag. Odessa caught a glimpse of part of a tattoo, slightly creeping out from underneath the sleeve of his of his well-toned arm.

Odessa was very much appreciating The Boy's upper body, from what she was seeing. This dude is a specimen-and-a-half!!

He reached into the black bag he was carrying and brought out a bag of potato crisps. He opened them and offered some to her before he began eating them, but she politely declined. A cheeky smiled crept across The Boy’s face. He reached into his bag again, and this time pulled out a chocolate bar. He again made an offer and winked, clearly alluding to the auto shop ‘incident’.

Odessa sniggered, gladly accepting the chocolate. “You think you’re funny, huh? I can’t resist this stuff anyway,” and bit into the bar. “Thank you very much,” she said to him.

The Boy gazed at her. “It’s my pleasure,” he said still grinning.

“So what were you doing at the mechanic’s that day, anyway?” Odessa curiously asked.

“Well, over the summertime I worked there, and that day you came in I happened to be standing behind a hubcap rack, which is probably why you didn’t see me. I gotta say, it was pretty funny watching you struggle with the vending machine,” The Boy chuckled. “Anyway, now that I’m in school I only work there part-time on some days.”

Odessa thought for a moment. “Is that why you’re always rushing out when chemistry’s over? To go to work after school?”

“Sometimes. Otherwise, I just wanna get out of the building. I’m not trying to stay in the school any longer than I need to.”

“Hehe, careful now, your parents may take that the wrong way!”

The Boy was silent for a moment, looking at the ducks in the pond. “It doesn’t matter anyway. I live on my own,” he said. Odessa curiously stared at him. He looked at her and grinned. “It’s a long story. Maybe when you’re old enough, I’ll tell ya about it,” he teased.

Odessa still intrigued looked away. “So you live on your own and ride a motorcycle… Sorry for being nosy, but Tim… how old are you anyway?”

The Boy laughed quietly. “A gentleman never tells,” he joked. “But seriously, I turned 18 a few months ago. I had to-- ” He stopped abruptly, and looked as if he was carefully choosing his words. “I had to take care of a couple of things before I came down to Llanview,” he eventually continued.

“Where are you from originally?”

The Boy grimaced, never taking his eyes off the ducks. “From over the hills and faraway,” he said, seeming distant.

Odessa only looked at him in wonderment. “Well living on your own in a new town must be interesting. Having freedom like that. Kudos to you for even bothering going to school.”

“Well, I was home-schooled all my life. But some things went down in my family, and I didn’t bother continuing with my studies. But after meeting people like Alec and Derek this summer, I thought I’d go ahead and enroll, afterall… see how this ‘school thing’ goes.”

Odessa, still thinking about him living alone, was curious. “But… don’t you ever get lonely? Surely you miss your family sometimes? And what about your friends…siblings.”

The Boy was silent for the longest time. Odessa was afraid she’d overstepped her limits, and was about to apologise. But suddenly, he let out a soft exhale and finally responded. “It’s only natural to feel lonely at times, but I can handle being on my own. I’ve managed well-enough.” A scowl took over his face. “I can tell you this much now: I've never had much for family and friends. Personally speaking, I believe people just come and go in life, too often to become attached to.” He stopped again and his face softened. He leaned his head back against the tree and closed his eyes. “Who knows, though? I may not stick around Llanview much longer, anyway…” he continued, with melancholy in voice. His eyes opened again, looking up at the October sky. He then turned and placed his attention on Odessa. “Unless… I have a good reason to.”

Odessa stared at him, very much fascinated by his sadness and beauty. She then thought about him and the headstone he was looking at. She’d wanted to ask about it, but quickly reminded herself that that was not a good idea.

The Boy looked away from her, and returned his focused back on the ducks. “Anyway, I live at the Angel Square Hotel now. The manager, Roxy, she’s um, a little ‘interesting’ to say the least,” he said changing the subject.

“Hmph, the very least,” Odessa grumbled. “But yea, before my dad married my mom, he used to live there when he was a lieutenant.”

The Boy snapped his head in her direction. “Lieutenant? As in the police?”

“Well, not anymore. He was appointed as the Commissioner when the old own retired… You remember seeing him at the auto shop, right?” she asked. The Boy was apprehensive, and Odessa looked at him, confused by his reaction. But then she laughed and spoke, assuring him. “Don’t worry, he may be intimidating sometimes, but that’s only when he’s in ‘cop mode’. So unless you’ve done something illegal, or he can tell you’ve got something to hide he’s not going to interrogate you and all that stuff.”

The Boy gave her a weak grin and quickly looked back at the pond. “Right…” he said to himself, and continued to snack on his crisps.